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Tool vending in pole position at motorsport specialist

MAD supplies parts ranging from one-offs right through to 100,000-plus volume production to a diverse range of industry sectors

Posted on 22 Sep 2021 and read 2155 times
Tool vending in pole position at motorsport specialistLancashire-based Mini Sport Group has been supplying its customers with parts for the iconic classic Mini for over 50 years and since 2005 many of these parts have been manufactured in-house by group company Motorsport Advanced Developments (MAD).

While initially MAD’s focus was purely for the Groups’ own requirements, its reputation for quality grew and the business now supplies parts in quantities ranging from one-offs right through to 100,000-plus volume production to a wide range of sectors including automotive, chemical, aerospace and defence.

Inevitably, this success has seen an increased demand for the latest machine tools and cutting tools and workholding and space in which to house them.

Daniel Harper, MAD’s managing director (pictured below with Tony Pennington, Ceratizit UK and Ireland’s managing director), said: “In 2019 we broke ground on a new building that would double our available floorspace. That was completed in early 2020 — then came Covid-19 and the lockdown.

“From March to May 2020 things were challenging, then the mail order side of the Mini Sport business just took off and by August we had brought back all our staff and production just kept ramping up.”

MADThis spike in business came at an ideal time as just before lockdown MAD had ordered a Mazak i600 with a multi-pallet system, which is now installed alongside a Mazak QuickTurn lathe, with a further QuickTurn 250MSY on order which will bring the total to 12 Mazak machines on site.

Mr Harper added: “Over the past 18 months we will have invested over £600,000 in machine tools, in addition to the cost of the new building.”

In order to support this increased machining demand and capacity MAD turned to long-term tooling partner Ceratizit UK & Ireland, with which it has worked with from the start.

Already a user of two Ceratizit Tom60 vending machines, the challenge was for the cutting tool manufacturer to provide an increased tool storage capacity without compromising floorspace. The solution was the installation of the latest Ceratizit TOM840, which replaces the two existing units.

Tony Pennington, Ceratizit UK & Ireland managing director, said: “This new TOM840 has a maximum capacity of 840 tools in compartments that can be adjusted to take a wide variety of shapes and sizes. In a typical scenario a TOM840 vendor will hold five times the number of tools compared to a TOM60 unit in a similar amount of floor space.”

Detailed traceability

The Ceratizit TOM vending system also provides users with detailed traceability with the ability to track the distribution of every tool, from time of vend, to which operator took it, and also monitor costs. With its in-built SIM card communications orders to replenish stock are automatically sent to the team of five dedicated vending support staff based at Ceratizit’s office in Sheffield.

MADStock within the machine is then replenished by a Ceratizit tool service engineer and, once a month an invoice is raised and, as the stock within the TOM840 is supplied on a consignment basis, only those tools vended are charged for.

A further advantage of the consignment stock is that the user can never be left with obsolete tools, whenever an update is released, the tools are replaced. This latest vending installation brings the total number of machines in the market to 435 in total.

Mr Harper concluded: “We have worked with Ceratizit since 2005, in particular with Nigel Walls our local technical sales engineer, who is always on-hand top offer advice on choice of tools and even manufacturing methods.

“We are a tight-knit family company and we like to deal with companies with the same philosophy as us, who will pull together to make things work, and in that respect Ceratizit provides us with everything we need.”